Tudors grace the stage
Published: Sunday, October 31, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
If you've been craving another installment of "The Tudors" or if you've been looking to combine your love of Reformation history with your love of the opera, then The Dallas Opera has a treat for you.
Their second production in the 53rd season is based on Henry VIII and his transition between wife number two and wife number three.
This entire season is dedicated to "Dangerous Desires," and it seems that the fall season is focused on history's greatest womanizers. Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" is another strong installment with beautiful orchestrations, strong performers and the always-pleasing bel canto vocals.
From the moment the opera begins, Henry VIII is already in love with Anne Boleyn's lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour.
Rather than focusing on the lustful romance that "The Tudors" draws out of this story, the opera shows the savagery and the deception in this world of divorce, both from his wives and the church.
Despite receiving a dose of karma herself, the opera's heroine is very obviously Anne Boleyn, both in the forgiveness she offers Jane, but also in soprano Hasmik Papian's performance of her. Papian and tenor Stephen Costello, who plays Anne's true and former love, Lord Percy, give the strongest performances of the evening.
Papian's voice lends an additional strength to the gracious character of Anne that makes her an excellent example of girl power, especially when she offers Jane her forgiveness.
Unfortunately, Jane is sung without very much grace by Denyce Graves. Whether the part was too vocally challenging for her, or she was sick opening night, her bel canto was anything but beautiful.
All the other vocalists sang their parts with expert tenacity. Oren Gradus is a strong Henry VIII and Mezzo-Soprano Elena Belfiore makes a stunning U.S. debut as Smeton, a court musician in love with Anne Boleyn.
The set was aesthetically pleasing and versatile, but was a bit too clunky to be elegant during scene changes.
Overall, the elements of this opera, led by the strong performance of Papian, come together for an enjoyable night at the Winspear.
Don't forget that the opera offers students the option of $25 tickets 90 minutes before the show. It's a great chance to see the opera at an affordable price and grab some food at one of the restaurants in the Arts District while you're down there.
For more information, visit: www.dallasopera.org